Police double breath and drug tests
IN THE past 12 months there have been six fatalities and 27 accidents requiring hospitalisation across Campaspe.
And now our drug- and alcohol-affected drivers are being warned.
The chances of you getting caught are much higher, with police doubling the number of preliminary breath and drug tests in the shire.
And Campaspe highway patrol’s Sergeant Paul Nicoll is making no apologies — with drug and drink drivers risking everyone’s lives on the roads. ‘‘They are criminals,’’ he said. ‘‘We are trying to make our roads safer and keep drink- and drug-affected drivers off our roads and keep the road toll down.’’
Sgt Nicoll said almost 30 per cent of drivers killed on the roads last year had drugs, alcohol or both in their system.
‘‘One in every 11 tested for drugs returned a positive result – that’s a staggering percentage and worse, a frightening one,’’ he said.
Alarmingly, drug driving now outstrips drink driving as a cause of fatalities on Victorian roads.
And Sgt Nicoll said this was also the case across Campaspe — with more drivers testing positive to drugs than alcohol.
‘‘It’s becoming evident by the number of people we process. We’re getting about two to three a week,’’ he said.
‘‘They’re testing positive to methamphetamine and cannabis. It’s probably 50-50.
‘‘It’s an epidemic statewide. A significant number of drug drivers are getting caught.’’
Sgt Nicoll said the perception that drug driving was not as bad as drink driving was completely untrue.
‘‘It’s just as bad. Drugs impair their capability of having proper control of their vehicle,’’ he said.
Sgt Nicoll said he had also found many impaired drivers did not learn their lesson.
‘‘We’re finding there are a lot of persistent offenders who don’t care about their licence being disqualified and they just keep driving,’’ he said.
Sgt Nicoll said people could expect to see more police presence on the roads in the coming months.
‘‘We have increased the number of tests we are doing daily and weekly which is probably why people are seeing us more,’’ he said.
‘‘The visible presence of doing tests will likely cause a reduction in people drink driving and other offences because they see us out there a lot more.’